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E-learning on the road: online learning and social media for continuous professional competency

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Background The impact of social media and online learning in health professions education has previously shown generally positive results in medical, nursing and pharmacy students. To date there has not been any extensive research into social media and online learning use by prehospital health care professionals such as paramedics. Aim & Methods We sought to identify the extent to which Irish pre-hospital practitioners make use of online learning and social media for continuous professional competency (CPC), and the means by which they do so. A cross-sectional online survey of practitioners was conducted to obtain both quantitative and qualitative data. The release of the survey was in a controlled manner to PHECC registrants via various channels. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. Results A total of 248 respondents completed the survey in full by closing date of 31 March 2015, representing 5.4% of all registrants (n=4,555). 77% of respondents were male, and the majority were registered as Emergency Medical Technicians (49%), followed by Advanced Paramedics (26%). Over 78% of respondents used a mobile device in the course of their clinical duties; the majority used an iOS device. Social media and online learning were considered learning tools by over 75% of respondents, and over 74% agreed they should be further incorporated into prehospital education. The most popular platforms for CPC activities were YouTube and Facebook. The majority of respondents (88%) viewed self-directed activities to constitute continuous professional development activity, but 64% felt that an activity that resulted in the awarding of a certificate was better value. Over 90% of respondents had previous experience with online learning, but only 42% indicated they had previously purchased or paid for online learning. Conclusion Prehospital practitioners in Ireland in the population studied consider online learning and social media acceptable for CPC purposes. The main social media outlets used by PHECC registrants are YouTube and Facebook. Practitioners consider online learning that awards a certificate to be better value than self-directed activities. The majority have previous experience of online learning. The results of this study can be used to ensure educational interventions are targeted at practitioners through the correct channels.
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E-learning on the road
Alan M. Batt1-4, Niamh M. Cummins4
1. Fanshawe College, London, ON, Canada; 2. Centre for Paramedic Education
and Research, Hamilton Health Sciences, ON, Canada; 3. National Ambulance
LLC, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; 4. Centre for Prehospital Research,
Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick, Ireland.
The impact of social media and online learning in health
professions education has previously shown generally
positive results in medical, nursing and pharmacy students.
To date there has not been any extensive research into
social media and online learning use by prehospital health
care professionals such as paramedics.
We sought to identify the extent to which Irish pre-hospital
practitioners make use of online learning and social media
for continuing professional competency (CPC), and the
means by which they do so.
Introduction
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Pasco County, Florida
Materials and Methods
A cross-sectional online survey of practitioners was
conducted to obtain both quantitative and qualitative data.
No previous questionnaires investigating paramedics or
other healthcare professions similar use of social media for
continuous professional development or competency were
identified in the literature.
Nationwide ethics approval was obtained from the
Research Ethics Committee of University Hospitals
Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
The release of the survey was in a controlled manner to
PHECC registrants via various channels.
Participation was voluntary and anonymous.
Demographic Results
248
191
57
121
64 63
0
50
100
150
200
Total respondents Male Female EMT Advanced
Paramedic Paramedic
Demographics
E-Learning Results
248
195
117
84
0
50
100
150
200
Total
respondents Use mobile
device in
clinical
practice
iOS Android
Mobile learning
Which platform?
A total of 248 respondents completed the
survey in full, representing 5.4% of all
registrants at the time (n=4,555).
Social media and online learning were
considered learning tools by over 75% of
respondents.
The majority of respondents (88%) viewed self-
directed activities to constitute continuous
professional development activity.
Over 90% of respondents had previous
experience with online learning.
Social Media Results
206
137
131
121
113
73
28
78
44
87
56
32
65
25
050 100 150 200 250
Facebook
LinkedIn
YouTube
Twitter
Google+
Athens
MOOC
Account use
Use for CPC Have an account
The most commonly used platforms
were Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube
The most popular platforms for
completing CPC activities were
YouTube, Facebook and Athens.
Perceptions
Advantages to online learning
Ease of access
Asynchronous learning
Self-paced
Consistency
Efficiency
Access to experts of all levels
Don’t have to give up “personal time”
Interactive learning
Disadvantages to online learning
Can lack structure
IT skills vary
Broadband access in rural Ireland is an issue
Not peer-reviewed
Management see it as a tool to replace direct
learning
Easy to lose focus
Prehospital practitioners in Ireland in the population studied consider online learning and
social media acceptable for CPC purposes.
Practitioners consider online learning that awards a certificate to be better value than self-
directed activities.
Many Irish prehospital practitioners already use smartphones and tablets during their
everyday clinical practice, and providing learning and CPC resources that can be accessed
using these devices will make it easier for practitioners to maintain current competency.
The main social media outlets used by PHECC registrants are YouTube and Facebook.
The results of this study can be used to ensure educational interventions are targeted at
practitioners through the correct channels, and barriers are eliminated or overcome.
Conclusions
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.